Kidney wants Irish to work harder after 'encouraging' performance
MUST work harder -- that was the message from Declan Kidney after Saturday's defeat to the All Blacks with the Ireland coach stressing the importance of finishing the November Series on a high against Argentina next weekend.
Despite the 20-point losing margin, Ireland produced their best performance of the month, playing with a level of intensity several notches up from the 23-21 defeat to South Africa and 20-10 win over Samoa. Kidney's team came in for some heavy criticism after those matches and, while accepting that Ireland produced some encouraging rugby against New Zealand, he said that there are improvements be made.
"There was unnecessary criticism last week, we're not going to go into false praise this week, we've plenty of work to do and we'll work at it," said Kidney. "I suppose it (the performance) would give some encouragement, but I think too much of them (the players) just to let them away with that. Then we go into the old things like 'it was a great performance'. We're too good a country to buy into that.
"We need to work on things ourselves. It's in our own control, if you look at the turnovers, just getting a few simple things right, we put our defence under a lot of pressure."
While accepting that Ireland will have learned a lot from their clash with the top side in the world, Kidney, whose side have one win in eight matches heading into the Pumas clash, stressed the psychological importance of a victory next weekend. "You always (want to learn), but you want to be winning as well. That's why it was important to win last week and we need to get back to winning ways again next week against Argentina, which will present a much different challenge," he said.
"That's the benefit of this series, it's brilliant to have a four-game series in that we want to learn more about ourselves. But you want to be winning games in the present, you don't want to be building for the future all the time."
There was widespread disbelief after the match that no All Black had been yellow-carded after infringements and several warnings from referee Marius Jonker. Captain Richie McCaw and No 8 Kieran Read were the chief culprits, but the South African official, who knows the All Blacks well from the Super 14 and Tri Nations, never produced the card.
"There was a lot of ball slowed up. I've met Marius a few times. I actually think he's a very good man," he said. "I think there were two penalty decisions leading into the time when Keith (Earls) nearly had a try but the TMO went against us, that wouldn't have changed the game, but because we play positively, we don't get the advantage from that."